The National Centre for the Uplands has been established to lead training, research and dialogue in hill farming and land management.
The National Centre for the Uplands originated from a St George’s House consultation in December 2010 which brought together experts representing many of the influences that affect the uplands, from farming and tourism to environment and land management. The focus of the consultation was on the future and on activities that could help develop more robust communities through sustainable and relevant economic activity. Established in 2011 with the support of the Prince’s Countryside Fund and Askham Bryan College, the National Centre works to deliver against three core objectives:
- To deliver excellence in education and training for the uplands.
- To demonstrate and disseminate best practice and research.
- Through partnership, provide a safe space for dialogue and debate on upland issues.
The St George’s House consultation report identified that the passing-on of traditional skills and the development of new skills appropriate to entrepreneurial growth in the uplands are crucial elements in regeneration and recommended that a centre of excellence in uplands business should be established. Newton Rigg College, under the direction of Askham Bryan College, was already delivering a high percentage of the training to hill farmers, foresters, gamekeepers and other upland land-based occupations, including the delivery of environmental services. With access to its own hill farm at Low Beckside near Penrith, Newton Rigg College became the logical home for the National Centre for the Uplands.